Tag Archives: giles ellis

London Watch Week

I don’t think last week was officially know as “watch week” but that is how it turned out for me, a few events growing out of the Salon QP.

Although maybe “week” might not be quiet the right definition as for me everything started mid-October when I met Nicholas Bowman-Scargill for a catch-up. We had first met a year earlier, before he re-launched the Fears brand at the Salon QP 2016. Nicholas told me all about his first year and the three new watches he would be announcing at this years show.  He revealed these in order of significance. The first being an additional colour to the existing Redcliff range this time a pretty striking Passport Red.

Redcliff Passport Red

Next I was expecting a “mechanical Redcliff”, which seemed to be the obvious development. But no, the next watch Nicholas showed me was the quartz Redcliff Continental. The Continental version has a window just the “6” position enabling the wearer to display a second time zone. A very useful feature for international travellers or people with far flung families.

The Continental Range

Then came the news I had been expecting the Fears mechanical watch, not however as I was imagining a Redcliff but a completely new watch – the Brunswick the first mechanical watch for the new Fears.

The Brunswick concept & inspiration

At this time Nicholas was only able to show me a drawing of the watch as the prototype had yet been delivered.  The finished watch was due to be shown at the Watchmakers Club evening before the Salon QP. I will dedicate a post to this interesting new watch.

This brings me to the start of “Watch Week”; the first event being the Watchmaker’s Club “Night Before” evening in a private club in London on Wednesday.  The Watchmakers Club is a new platform, intended to bring watch collectors and industry experts together via intimate, exclusive events and regular social gatherings. The team behind this unique organisation consists of watchmakers, independent brands, industry influencers and journalists.

It all started in 2012, Andreas Strehler exhibited for the first time at SalonQP in London. On the night before the opening of SalonQP, he invited a few friends and watch enthusiasts to share a drink, talk about watches and the world in general. The idea of The Night Before was born.

On the first evening only a handful of what would become a band of friends showed up at the Lansdowne Club in Mayfair. Over the years, The Night Before became an institution: A gathering of interesting people interested in the world of watches and as the guest list began to grow the Lansdowne Club became too small to host the event.

This year the event was held at The Libary in St Martins Lane. There were two sections, one of which, upstairs, was dedicated the British brands, Fears, Garrick and Pinion. It was a great opportunity firstly to see the Fears Brunswick and Pinions new Atom finally in the metal.

Pinion Atom

The Atom doesn’t disappoint at all. As you can see the design clearly says, Pinion. As we have come to expect, Piers presented a really nice well built watch. Differently to previous Pinions you first notice the slimmer (11mm) steel case, made possible by the use of the Japanese Miyota 9105 automatic movement. Using this movement also enables Pinion to offer a watch at a much lower price point than we are used to from this brand, £790. It will be very interesting to see how this bet goes.

After Fears and Pinion I managed to squeeze through to the table where Garrick’s Simon Michlmayr  was displaying their watches, I was especially keen to see the new S1. This watch is built by master watchmaker, Craig Baird, and finished entirely by hand. This is Garrick’s most complicated timepiece to date, featuring a skeletonised dial and incorporating a power reserve indicator. Only five S1 timepieces will be made per annum.

Sketch of Garrick S1

Unfortunately due lack of space and light I couldn’t get a really decent picture so to give an idea of how the watch is I have taken this picture from Garrick website.

Giles Ellis of Schofield was also present that night along with Simon Cudd, of Schofield + Cudd straps, neither was displaying their products other than those they were wearing. I did manage a dingy peek at Schofield latest watch – the Telemark.

All in all it was a very pleasant evening but being a “school night” I  thought it wise to make my way home.

After “the Night Before” comes the actual night- the first evening of this years Salon QP. The big difference between the two evenings was the lighting.

I managed to say hello again to Simon Michlmayr and to get a shot of the Garrick range.

The Garrick range

I then found the two British stands together firstly, the Fears Departure lounge that was proving very popular with the new Brunswick attracting a great deal of praise. Then next door Schofield overseen by Giles Ellis himself and Simon Cudd with his straps. Again thanks to better light I managed to get some more useful pictures.

Schofield Telemark
Schofield Daymark

After visiting the Brits I went a little of topic and had quick chat with two brands that I have admired for a while Habring from Austria and Switzerlands Czapek both really nice and like everyone super enthusiastic about their work.

On Saturday I visited the Salon again this time with my sons, in the hope of planting the seed of an interest in watches early. They were very impressed by the chocolate offered at the Fears Departure lounge.

Inside Bremont’s Watchmaking Factory- Gear Patrol Photo Essay

After discovering from their latest brochure that Bremont have a manufacturing facility at Silverstone I came across this great article on the Gear Patrol website. After the pessimism of my previous posting this all looks very optimistic for the future of real manufacturing in the UK.

Gear Patrol article

Giles English turns the steel watch case over in his hands, a boyish excitement glinting in his eyes. Beside him, Bremont’s lead technician and their designer eye the sharp circle as it shines in the florescent lighting of the facility. The three men are huddled silently around a simple watch part made entirely in the UK, a feat indicative of the future of British watchmaking and their part in it.

Bremont is known for its Trip-Tick design, the trademark three-piece, hardened-steel case upon which every piece in the core collection is built, and its aviation underpinnings, a nod to the family’s legacy of flying. But what drives Bremont’s founders, brothers Nick and Giles English, is a deep desire to reclaim the lost tradition of British watchmaking.

That much was clear when we took a look inside Bremont’s facilities in the United Kingdom to observe their production process. We peered into their new state-of-the-art R&D space at Silverstone Race Track; we looked over the shoulders of Bremont watchmakers at their two-story headquarters location in Henley-on-Thames. We witnessed, for the first time, how the brand ticks.

caption caption

dst

Once milled, the cases move into an automated finishing machine where technicians monitor the initial polishing process.

Case parts await the next phase in the process at Bremont’s Silverstone facility.

Once through the initial polishing phase, cases are carefully inspected. A technician checks every case part, finalizing the case finish by hand. Afterward, a computer-guided laser eye measures and records any variance and an ultra-sensitive nib rechecks every case.

CAPTION

Blank case backs are arranged for laser engraving.

The laser engraving process takes milliseconds and is done under the close supervision at the Silverstone facility.

Bremont is working to bring all aspects of their production to Britain. While it's a gradual process, they have made serious inroads at Silverstone. Here, a template base plate is inspected.

A fully assembled movement is scrutinized under a microscope.

A movement is deconstructed for review. While much of the movement is still of Swiss origin, Bremont is making strides to produce more parts in the UK.

At their Henley-on-Thames facility, watchmakers assemble watches, fitting cases from the various models with movements. Afterward, the watches are wound and tested for accuracy and amplitude.

Horology high: the rise of Schofield – Telegraph

By Stephen Doig

October 07, 2014 15:40

The Blacklamp Carbon watchThe Blacklamp Carbon watch

The Blacklamp Carbon watch

There are few global watch brands that can say they operate out of a bucolic village in the West Sussex countryside. But then there are few watchmakers that can also boast ‘ukulele maker’ under their skillset. However, such is the visionary nature of Giles Ellis’s pioneering watch brand, Schofield, that the horological rule book is being quietly re-written, from a leafy corner of the English countryside. What began as a personal quest to find a watch that fitted his exacting personal taste has evolved into an international operation that has carved out a curious niche in the competitive world of watch-making.

‘Schofield was never a commercial enterprise, at the start it was about creating one watch for myself’, says polymath Ellis, who previously worked as coding specialist, product designer and restorer of musical instruments, and who heads a talk at the fine watch exhibition SalonQP next month on the design element of watch production.

It was a combination of expertise and uncompromising personal taste that prompted Ellis to handcraft his own amplifier. ‘All my life I’ve been someone who likes things to be just right, and as such the products I’m attracted to tend to be incredibly expensive. So I’ve ended up furnishing my life with things that I’ve made with my own hand.’ The execution of this amplifier laid the foundations for what was to become the Schofield template, even though Ellis didn’t realise it at the time. Despite it being purely for personal use, Ellis branded the amp as a ‘Schofield’ product. ‘At the time, I was into spaghetti Westerns and Schofield was the name of a revolver used by Jessie James. It’s the bad boy’s revolver of choice’.

This incarnation of Schofield swiftly evolved into a watch brand, after Ellis – with trademark dynamism – decided to create his own watch. ‘I got completely immersed in the project,’ he says by way of understatement, ‘and quickly learned that to have the watch made the way I wanted, I’d have to set up a minimum order. I knew that I was going to end up with more watches than I could ever need, and that was the tipping point that turned Schofield into a business.’ Making their debut in 2011 at SalonQP, initially his business plan involved selling a grand total of three: in his first year he exceeded year three of that plan. But to Ellis, this isn’t about meteoric, instant success.

‘For four years before we launched, I was making sure that the business was as solid and had as much integrity as the watches themselves’. To that end, each element is impeccably conceived and handcrafted, with certain models made in Germany (an emerging talent on the world watch stage) and some in England. A carefully curated range includes the Signalman DLC, Signalman Polished and Blacklamp, each impeccably made and some featuring specially developed materials (the Blacklamp employs a patented rendering of carbon fibre called Morta), sleekly designed and (for that dash of English eccentricity) named after UK lighthouses because of their longevity and engineering. Salon QP sees a new addition to the roster, with the launch of the Beater (details firmly confidential at this point) and a new pen with custom-made ink mixed by Schofield. Clearly, Schofield is intent on writing its own future.

BREMONT STRENGTHENS ITS TECHNICAL TEAM

BREMONT STRENGTHENS ITS TECHNICAL TEAM WITH THE ARRIVAL OF THE ARTISAN MOVEMENT DESIGNER

BREMONT STRENGTHENS ITS TECHNICAL TEAM WITH THE ARRIVAL OF THE ARTISAN MOVEMENT DESIGNER STEPHEN MCDONNELL

 

Bremont is pleased to announce the arrival of Stephen McDonnell to its technical team. Stephen, originally from Northern Ireland, was senior instructor at Wostep in Switzerland before he left to pursue a career in movement design. Stephen has been instrumental in the design and prototype build of many great movements working with a number of the most prestigious Swiss watch brands, he is one of the few watch makers capable of designing and building complete movements by hand. Stephen has moved from Switzerland to join the ever increasing technical and design team at Bremont. This signing demonstrates Bremont’s continued investment of in-house, UK based skills as part of a long term investment in British watch making.

Giles English “It is great that we are able to attract someone of Stephen’s caliber to join the company. We have a wonderful team utilizing skills from different industries to be able to fulfill our long term aims and commitment to build as much as we can in the UK.”

Nick English “Nothing is easy when building watches and it takes considerable investment in both our Henley and Silverstone facilities. We are eternally grateful for the help we receive from the Swiss industry as we could not do any of this without their support, but having someone as immensely talented as Stephen in the UK is a great asset to our team.”

Stephen McDonnell “I am very excited to be joining Bremont and moving back from Switzerland. Nick and Giles’ long term vision was a strong factor in me making the move, as well as being part of the revival of the British watch industry. My experience in all areas of movement manufacture will help support them in their continued plans and build on the great work they have done to date.”

BACKGROUND TO STEPHEN

Stephen qualified from Oxford University and moved to Switzerland in January 2001 to study at Wostep. While there, Wostep proposed that he remain with them and become an instructor. For 4 years he was the senior instructor at Wostep Neuchâtel, with responsibility for nearly all of the courses (full training, turning, refresher, restoration and complications). In 2007 he left Wostep and became independent and has since worked with the likes of MB&F, Christophe Claret, Maîtres du Temps and Peter Speake Marin for all aspects of design and prototyping manufacturing. He has also worked extensively in the restoration of vintage and complicated watches.

Q&A: Schofield Watch founder Giles Ellis – Salon QP

February 12, 2015

Giles-Ellis-of-Schofield-Watches